Why Prince William and Kate Middleton aren’t at King Charles’ first State Opening of Parliament

Why Prince William and Kate Middleton aren’t at King Charles’ first State Opening of Parliament

The Prince and Princess of Wales did not attend King Charles III’s first State Opening of Parliament as monarch.

The address - which took place on Tuesday 7 November - is meant to signify the start of the new political year for parliament, as it details the policy agenda for the 2023-24 session. This Tuesday marked the first time King Charles and Queen Camilla attended the State Opening since their coronation in May.

At the event, Charles read the King’s Speech while wearing the Imperial State Crown, which has not been worn since the royal couple’s coronation. In addition to Charles and Camilla, Princess Anne was also in attendance to fulfill her role as the Gold Stick in Waiting - a ceremonial bodyguard to the sovereign. However, Prince William and Kate Middleton were too preoccupied to show up to the ceremony, despite the Prince of Wales being next in line for the throne.

The State Opening of Parliament is not a mandatory event that the heir to the throne has to attend, but Charles previously attended along with his mother - the late Queen Elizabeth II - many times, dating back to 1970.

William is currently in Singapore for the annual Earthshot Prize Awards to support environmental innovators with solutions to battle climate change. This is the first time the award ceremony is being held in Asia. The inaugural ceremony was held in London in 2021, and then Boston in December 2022.

Ahead of the awards ceremony, the royal was seen cheering on the 15 finalists of the third Earthshot Prize on Tuesday. Five of the 15 finalists will ultimately receive one million pounds ($1.2 million) each, in order to help support groundbreaking innovations to fight climate change. William spoke to the finalists at Gardens by the Bay, an artistic horticulture attraction.

The winners are grouped into five categories: nature protection, clean air, ocean revival, waste elimination and climate change. Each winner is chosen by a 13-member council of influential global figures, including Jordan’s Queen Rania al Abdullah, Chinese business magnate Jack Ma, British fashion designer Stella McCartney, broadcaster David Attenborough, World Trade Organisation chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweale, and former NBA star Yao Ming.

While Kate had attended the awards ceremony in both London and Boston, she is currently not in Singapore with her husband. Instead, she is back home in the United Kingdom where she’s helping her oldest son, Prince George, study for exams at school.

“Catherine is very sorry she can’t be here,” the Prince of Wales said while in Singapore. “She is helping George through his first set of major exams.”

Despite not being able to attend this year, William did attend his first State Opening of Parliament in May 2022. It was then that Charles was instructed to deliver the speech on behalf of his mother, who was unable to recite the speech herself due to “episodic mobility problems”, according to Buckingham Palace. The late Queen passed away less than six months later on 8 September 2022.

Kate, on the other hand, has never attended the State Opening of Parliament.